At Supplement Solutions, we know that it’s not just horses that may need a bit of extra nutritional support. Cats and dogs are now living longer, and there are many supplements available to support the joints of the older pet. We know it can be confusing looking through a wide range of supplements. In this blog we will explain why and when we would recommend feeding a joint supplement to your older pet.

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Please note that if your pet is already on medication or prescription feed, we would recommend contacting your vet before changing your pet’s diet.

It is common for pet owners to notice a decrease in their pets’ activity levels as they get older. Other indications that a joint supplement may be helpful to your pet include:

  • Stiffness or lameness
  • Changes in posture
  • Changes in behaviour
  • Decreased exercise tolerance

Key Ingredients

The key ingredients used in pet joint supplements are very similar to those used in equine joint supplements. Many of your favourite equine supplement brands also produce pet versions of their products. For example, NutriScience ArthriAid is available in palatable powder, liquid, chews and tablets.

Glucosamine and Chondroitin

Glucosamine and chondroitin are key ingredients in most joint supplements. Both glucosamine and chondroitin are natural substances involved in the synthesis and degradation of cartilage in the body. Oral administration is suggested to promote the synthesis of new cartilage over the degradation of the existing cartilage in the joints. Although research in domestic pets is limited, we can draw conclusions based on scientific studies from humans and other mammals. Glucosamine sulphate is the form of glucosamine that is generally regarded to be more effective than glucosamine hydrochloride. Studies testing the effects of glucosamine and chondroitin have found that the combination of of the two has a greater effect than glucosamine or chondroitin given alone.

Pet supplements containing both glucosamine and chondroitin:

  • Protexin Veterinary Dasuquin
  • BETTALIFE Pharmaquin
  • NutriScience ArthriAid
  • NVC Mobility
  • Equine America Cortaflex Working Dog with Aqualox

Glucosamine and chondroitin are often supported by other natural ingredients that have anti-inflammatory effects such as Boswellia serrata (Boswellia), Curcuma longa (derived from Turmeric) and Harpagophytum procumbens (Devil’s Claw).

Joint supplements are designed to be fed over a long period of time. This means it can take a few weeks before a difference is noticed. Some joint supplements recommend giving a higher loading dose in order to boost absorption of the product. Please follow the instructions of each joint supplement to ensure you are feeding correctly. If your pet is quite fussy about its food, we would recommend introducing a new supplement slowly. Work up to the loading dose, to ensure that your pet is not put off its food.  

If you have any questions about joint supplements, or would like any further advice, please contact our Supplement Specialists.

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References:

Glucosamine and chondroitin use in canines for osteoarthritis: A review (nih.gov)

Role of glucosamine in the treatment for osteoarthritis | SpringerLink

Effects of a nutritional supplement in dogs affected by osteoarthritis - Musco - 2019 - Veterinary Medicine and Science - Wiley Online Library

Effect of chondroitin sulphate in symptomatic knee osteoarthritis: a multicentre, randomised, double‐blind, placebo‐controlled study - PMC (nih.gov)

Clinical review of chondroitin sulfate in osteoarthritis - ScienceDirect

Glucosamine, Chondroitin Sulfate, and the Two in Combination for Painful Knee Osteoarthritis | NEJM